After a long, gruelling NFL season, just two teams remain. The Kansas City Chiefs have gone one better than last season and triumphed in the AFC Championship game, giving Andy Reid his second Super Bowl Appearance. The San Francisco 49ers have rebounded from a 4-12 season to be just one win away from lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy for a record-equalling sixth time. We preview Super Bowl LIV
Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid’s football sides always do well, however some shrewd off-season moves have set up the success of this season. The acquisitions of Frank Clark, Mecole Hardman and Tyrann Mathieu through trade, draft and free agency respectively added some athleticism and talent to both sides of the ball. Meanwhile Patrick Mahomes continues to be one of the stellar young quarterbacks in the league.
After starting the season 4-0, the Chiefs went on a mid-season wobble, dropping four of their next six to be sat at 6-4 going into their international fixture in Mexico City. After a close win against the Chargers, they never looked back, destroying teams at home and conquering the Patriots in Foxboro en route to the second seed in the AFC. Slow starts and dominant finishes have come to define the Chiefs’ post-season play, giving up early leads to both the Texans and Titans in the playoffs before dominating by a combined score of 86-55.
The Arrowhead side have been dominant at home, but questions remain about Reid in big games. They enter the Super Bowl as 8/11 favourites.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers’ season can be defined by two players. Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Bosa. Both were extremely brave moves by GM John Lynch, who traded for Garoppolo from the New England Patriots and drafted Bosa second overall in the 2019 draft. Both excelled in a season where the Niners lost just three games, and all by one score or less. They secured the 1-seed in the NFC despite sharing a 13-3 record with two other sides, before professionally dispatching both the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.
Garoppolo has managed Kyle Shanahan’s offense exceptionally, throwing for 27 touchdowns while utilising their three-headed running back monster superbly, while Bosa has been a force on defence. The rookie was named to the Pro Bowl in his first season, after racking up 47 tackles, 9 sacks and an interception, whilst affecting nearly every defensive play.
The 49ers are a team built to play in a number of environments and have a defence that can turn a game in an instant. They enter at Evens.
While MVP invariably used to go to the starting QB on the Super Bowl winning team, we are slowly seeing a trend away from that. Three of the last six have been players other than quarterbacks, including two defensive players. Offense is expected to dominate this game, so defensive efforts could be more noticeable. If San Francisco are to complete their fairytale season, look for the aforementioned Bosa to have a monster game. If he doesn’t perform, it could be ugly for the West Coast side. Bosa to be named Super Bowl MVP is 25/1.